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Tax Time 2018: What do I do if I made a mistake on my tax return?

Started July by
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Pobody’s nerfect. Whether you’ve forgotten to add something on your return or made some miscalculations, this article explains how you can fix mistakes quickly and easily.


We all make mistakes occasionally. You may need to correct the information you reported to us for a variety of reasons – because you made a mistake in entering a figure, failed to report some income, incorrectly claimed deductions, or received new information after you lodged a return.

Fortunately, it’s easy to fix mistakes on your tax return by requesting an amendment. In fact, most people can now correct their return online via myGov.

Requesting an amendment online

If you’ve noticed an error in your tax return after you’ve lodged, timing is everything – so if your return is already ‘balancing accounts’, it might be worth waiting until we’ve finished before you try to amend.

Once you’ve pinpointed the mistake:

  1. Open the return containing the error
  2. Find the relevant field and either
    1. over-write the mistake with the correct information or
    2. add or delete records as necessary.
  3. Take the opportunity to check the rest of your return to confirm the rest of your information is correct
  4. Click ‘Calculate’.

We’ll re-calculate your return based on the new information and send you a notice of amended assessment explaining the outcome. You don’t need to send us documentation explaining the reason for the changes unless we ask for it.

We usually process online amendments within 20 business days.

Requesting an amendment through your registered tax practitioner

Even if you prepare your original return yourself, if you’ve made a mistake and you’re not sure how to fix it, you can choose to hire the services of a registered tax practitioner to help.

Registered tax practitioners can work with you to identify any errors or missed information on current or previous tax returns and submit a request on your behalf. Because most tax practitioners lodge amendments online, we usually process them within 20 business days. Find registered tax practitioners in your area by searching the Tax Practitioners Board register.

Requesting an amendment by paper

If you can’t complete your amendment online for some reason, you have two options:

  1. Complete a ‘Request for amendment of income tax return for individuals’ (if you’re an individual or sole trader) or
  2. Send us a letter containing detailed information about the amendment(s) you wish to make.

If you send us a request for amendment by paper, it can take up to 50 business days to manually update and process your request.

What if the ATO made the mistake?

Yup, sometimes even we make mistakes – but we’re always happy to fix them! If you believe we’ve made a mistake on your return, the best thing to do is phone us on 13 28 61 between 8:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday to ask us to explain your notice of assessment. If we identify that the mistake is our fault, we can lodge a request for you and get it fixed without you needing to submit an amendment.

If you have a registered tax practitioner, they can also ask us to amend your return on your behalf.

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